What Truck Drivers Want You to Know About Sharing The Road Safely
Sharing the road with large trucks and commercial vehicles is a commonplace occurrence for most drivers. However, the road can be a dangerous place when drivers are unaware of how to coexist safely with these colossal vehicles.
Creating a safe driving environment is paramount in reducing road accidents and ensuring the well-being of all road users.
The Reality of Dangerous Consequences
Not sharing the road properly with semi-trucks can lead to devastating consequences. Semi-trucks, due to their significant size and weight, are involved in many fatal accidents, accounting for about 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in recent years.
For example, in 2019 alone, semi-trucks were involved in over 4,000 fatal crashes in the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
When road sharing is not executed properly, it significantly increases the risk of severe, often fatal, collisions. The disproportionate mass between a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle means that in the event of an accident, it’s usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who suffer the most, with 67% of the fatalities being car occupants, based on recent statistics.
Given these startling numbers, a mutual understanding and respect for the unique driving characteristics and limitations of semi-trucks are imperative for the safety of all road users.
To foster a better understanding and to promote safer roads, here are 8 crucial mistakes that truck drivers wish every motorist would stop making.
Mistake: Driving in Their Blindspot
Truck drivers have extensive blind spots or "No Zones" on all four sides of their vehicle. They want drivers to be aware that if you can't see the truck driver in the truck's mirror, they likely can't see you either. Staying out of these blind spots is crucial to avoid accidents.
Mistake: Following Too Closely
Maintaining a safe distance between your vehicle and a truck is imperative. Trucks require a longer distance to stop due to their size and weight. Tailgating a truck not only reduces your reaction time but also puts you in the truck's blind spot.
Mistake: Abrupt Lane Changes
Swift and abrupt lane changes in front of trucks can be hazardous. It is crucial for drivers to signal intentions early and ensure there is ample space when merging in front of a truck. Truck drivers recommend allowing at least one car length for every 10 mph you are traveling.
Mistake: Not Giving Them Adequate Space
Trucks need extra room to make turns, especially right turns. Cutting in between the road and a turning truck or trying to squeeze by on the right can result in a collision. It's crucial to give trucks ample space to maneuver and complete their turns safely.
Mistake: Not Indicating Properly
Truck drivers stress the importance of being predictable on the road. Use your indicators well in advance, maintain a consistent speed, and avoid erratic maneuvers. Predictable actions allow truck drivers to anticipate your movements and react accordingly, reducing the risk of accidents.
Mistake: Underestimating Weather Conditions
Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog affect the handling of all vehicles, but the impact is more pronounced for trucks. Truck drivers advise extra caution and increased following distances in poor weather to allow for increased stopping distances and reduced visibility.
Mistake: Pressuring Drivers
Truck drivers often face long, demanding hours on the road, leading to fatigue. Other drivers can assist by being more understanding, maintaining patience, and giving trucks the space and time they need to maneuver safely, especially during the late hours.
Recognize the Importance of Trucks
Trucks play a crucial role in the economy, transporting goods across the country. A little patience and respect can go a long way in ensuring safe roads for everyone.
Understanding and acknowledging the challenges faced by truck drivers can foster mutual respect and safer coexistence on the road.
Safe driving is a shared responsibility, and understanding the challenges and limitations of sharing the road with trucks is crucial.
By practicing patience, maintaining awareness, and applying the insights provided by truck drivers, we can all contribute to a safer, more harmonious driving environment.